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Ithaca airport to use $10 million federal grant for renovation project’s second phase

By Eric Reinhardt

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On Thursday, the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) said the FAA has awarded the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport a $10 million grant to pay for the second phase of its renovation project. (Photo credit: www.flyithaca.com, the website of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport)

LANSING, N.Y. —The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport will use a $10 million federal grant to help fund the second phase of the renovation project underway at the facility, located in Lansing.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) airport-improvement program (AIP) allocated the funding, the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) said in a Thursday news release.

The lawmaker said the funding will allow the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to continue its “major modernization and expansion effort.”

Schumer visited the airport in February and called Daniel Elwell, FAA acting administrator, in April 2019 to “fight for this critical grant,” the lawmaker’s office noted.

“Business at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has taken off, people are choosing to fly out of Ithaca, and carriers are taking notice. These federal funds will go a long way to create a world-class facility right here in Tompkins County that will encourage continued growth,” Schumer contended in the release.

The airport is already using a state grant of $14.2 million to help pay for the $24.5 million renovation project.

The state grant, announced more than a year ago, came from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a May 3, 2018 news release.

The state funding covered the first phase of the project, which involved crews reconstructing the entrance to the terminal building. The airport will use the latest $10 million grant for the second phase, which will include the construction of a post-security arrival/departure concourse and new jet bridges.

“This federal grant award completes funding for our airport infrastructure project. Special thanks to Senator Schumer for his critical support to obtain these funds!” Mike Hall, director of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, said in Schumer’s release.

In total, the project will “significantly” increase the size of the facility, from 33,000 square feet to 50,500 square feet, and include the construction of a new federal customs facility as well as the addition of six new gates at the airport.

Schumer contends the project will enable Ithaca Tompkins to offer new and upgraded services and to attract new carriers and destinations.

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport hosts 270 flights per month, with three major airlines offering three flights per day, per the release. The airport serves about 105,000 passengers each year.

About the AIP

The AIP provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Funds obligated for the AIP are drawn from the airport and airway trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com